Suarez and Pantelic show Ajax the way

Suarez and Pantelic show Ajax the way

Ajax posted their eleventh straight Eredivisie win on Sunday. Martin Jol’s team had a relatively easy win over VVV Venlo in the Amsterdam ArenA, 7-0. Luis Suarez and Marko Pantelic each scored three times. With three rounds to go, Ajax remains hot on the heels of leader Twente.

One week after their hard fought in Den Haag (0-1), Ajax enjoyed a relatively easy afternoon. VVV-Venlo, who hasn’t won a single away game this season, didn’t hold out hope for long that today’s game would be their first. By the twelfth minute, the team from Limburg were already 3-0 down. Moreover, there was good news for Ajax from Eindhoven, as number three PSV had left two points on the table against Feyenoord (0-0).

After five minutes, Luis Suarez opened the score against VVV. Ajax’s captain has been hunting for his thirtieth goal for a few weeks. He remained at 29 against FC Groningen and ADO, and Sunday he finally got number thirty. A good free kick hit the mark and gave Ajax the early lead. Just minutes before, VVV had aggressively been pushing toward the Ajax goal. But Maarten Stekelenburg was in Achmed Ahahaoui’s way.

Barely five minutes after his opening goal, Suarez had the ArenA cheering again. On his way to the goal, VVV defender Niels Fleuren tugged on his shirt on the edge of the penalty kick area, and referee Danny Makkelie awarded Ajax a penalty. The Uruguayan top scorer made good on his opportunity: 2-0.

Suarez’s quick goals were followed up within fifteen minutes. Marko Pantelic manoeuvred away from opponent Ferry de Regt, and the Serbian player then brought his team to a 3-0 lead. Before the break, the score went up even further to 5-0. In the 38th minute, Pantelic, on a pass from Suarez, passed the ball to Urby Emanuelson, who then scored a goal of his own. Four minutes later, Ajax’s top scorer Suarez scored his third of the afternoon. He easily outplayed keeper Ruud Boffin, who was passed for the fifth time within forty five minutes: 5-0.

During the second half, Gabri - in for the suspended Eyong Enoh– made his own attempt to increase the score. With the remaining competition matches against Willem II (away), Heracles Almelo (home) and NEC (away), plus the cup final against Feyenoord on the agenda, Ajax could afford the luxury of taking it easy with this generous lead of five goals.

Substitutes Nicolas Lodeiro and Christian Eriksen gave Ajax a second wind in the last 25 minutes. Lodeiro set up his countryman Suarez in front of the keeper a few times, and he made a good attempt from a free kick. Fifteen minutes before time, he had a hand in a goal, after he handily sent Pantelic in deep. The Ajax forward’s shot hit the mark, sailing past VVV’s post: 6-0. A few minutes later, the Serbian international attacked again. On a pass from Jan Vertonghen, man of the match Pantelic earned his own hat trick, in addition to Suarez’s.

“A pleasant surprise”, said Jol of the deluge of goals that Ajax unleashed onto VVV. “It’s just as shame that we ‘only’ scored two in the second half.” This said it all about the relative strength of Ajax and VVV. Venlo coach Jan van Dijk admitted as much during the press conference. “I don’t have much to say, just as we didn’t have much to say on the field. I think we were given a lesson this afternoon.”
With three matches left, number two Ajax trails leader FC Twente by four points. Ajax pays a midweek visit to Willem II on Wednesday, while Twente will face a tough away match against AZ one day earlier. “The battle’s not over yet”, said Jol afterwards. “Twente faced a difficult away game at AZ. They are after all the champion, and they have a few dangerous forwards. As well, we are ahead of PSV by three points, and have a much better goal difference. That’s a stroke of luck, too.”